2010: A Year in Film

As is traditional at this time of year, I will write up my Top Five Movies of the Year very soon. For those of you who have ears, however, you can find out my five choices right now by listening to this month’s podcast:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8634900/ObserveALot6.mp3

2010.jpg2010: A Year In Film
So 2010. It happened. Why not put your feet up, relax, and let me take you on a little journey through the last twelve months of the world we call film?

The year ended as it began – with Avatar. The impact of which we’re still yet to fully come to terms with at the end of 2010. It led to distributors quickly jumping on the 3D bandwagon, regardless of the quality of the 3D they had created for viewers.

For the most part audiences seemed willing to buy it: Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3 being the highest grossing movies released this year. Also, despite the makers of Clash of the Titians and The Last Airbender retroactively adding inferior 3D to their films, they still went on to be pretty popular with the cinema going public.

However, the decision by Warner not to retroactively 3D-ify Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One signals at least some discernment on the part of studios regarding inferior 3D versions of their films.

As is always the case in January and February, the UK release schedule was full of oscar bait. Only 2010 saw a somewhat sparser number of “oscanated” movies to choose from. Perhaps best represented by the fact the two big favourites were The Hurt Locker and Avatar, both of which were released in the UK in 2009.

We did get a few gems like Up in the Air, A Single Man, A Prophet and to a lesser extent Precious. However, the number of ‘must-see’ films in the run up to oscar season certainly tailed off in 2010 in comparison to previous years.

The run up to summer saw the release of Iron Man 2. A film which seemed overcome by its place within the eventual Avengers storyline. The decision to have characters from four separate movies (Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America) is an interesting gamble on the part of Marvel Studios. It relies on fans enjoying every single film in the franchise so they’ll be as excited as possible in seeing them all team up in The Avengers. If all the films are so full of set-up as Iron Man 2, my fear is that we’ll be more relieved than pumped up for the movie that brings all these iconic characters together.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival made the last two weeks of June the busiest of my film calendar. The decision to try and write a review for all fifteen films I managed to catch, giving me some sort of insight into the doggedness of professional film critics.

My favourite films from the fest included Monsters, Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone and The Oath. More generally, the unadulterated pleasure of seeing so many new movies in such a sort space of time was easily the year’s highlight.

July saw the release of Inception. A movie I described on the podcast as This Decade’s Matrix. By that I mean, it’s combination of special effects, science fiction and smart ideas showing Christopher Nolan is not just an adapter of franchises, but a creator of them as well.

My most anticipated film of the year, came in August, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World. On the podcast, I said this felt like a film created just for me. Unfortunately, its box office performance suggests there aren’t enough people like me out there. Both it and Kick Ass‘ disappointing takings casting into doubt the market for movies so heavily targeted at geeks.

Autumn saw a pleasantly surprising end to the year, with a lot of this year’s festival favourites getting their UK wide release. Sundance films Cyrus, Buried, The Kids Are All Right, and Catfish all giving us the type of well-realised characters and storylines we have come to associate with the festival.

Add to that movies such as I’m Still Here, Easy A, The Social Network, Another Year, The American, and Of Gods and Men, and I think it’s fair to say the last months of 2010 gave us most of its best films.

So 2010 then. The year we got used to 3D. The year a female director finally won an oscar. The year we said goodbye to Woody, Buzz and Andy. The year we got taught how to dream within dreams. And the year the slickest, coolest film was about a geek and some court cases.

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